tv [untitled] September 25, 2011 9:30pm-10:00pm PDT
culture will never change. culture changes slowly anyway. [applause] >> let me ask your gavotte chiefs -- two chiefs about this code of silence. we see it in the movies. uygur about it in books. -- we hear about it in books. >> i think there is peer pressure, to be sure. within the police department, we do not get to remain silent when you are asked a question. a regular citizen has are right to not self-incrimination. then the police department, you can say that, and you certainly have that right as a citizen of
the united states, and you're immediately sent over to the administration of internal affairs, where you were given an admonition, and you were going to say, now you're going to tell me exactly what happens, and they have to tell you or you're fired. that is the circumstance we're going through right now. i can tell the officers to tell me what happened, because if they do not, they are fired. so, they are telling us what went on. and it to the bottom of this investigation. with regard to generically if people do not say what ever -- there is pressure, but i think that largely, now in this day and age, with the light shining on us 100% of the time, i would tell you that when issues come forward, the officers would not have happened. >> mr. herley, do you have
comments? >> i would absolutely agree with the chief. there are very few times you were brought before your boss and ordered to tell the truth or you're fired, period. my concern is when your not ordered to come before your boss, and you see something happen, and you cannot do anything. that is my concern, and i'm sure the chief's also. i never thought i would be sitting here agreeing with every word john burris would say. [laughter] this is the first time i have had an opportunity to be with him. however, i do agree with him.
it has to be enforced throughout the organization. what we expect up our people. what we want to ensure up our people, particularly the integrity and the values aspect. many of us, not many, but quite a few departments have of all you statement. ethics, integrity are part of those values. it is not just a document that is on a wall. it is something we have to believe that every level and in force at every level. in preparing for this, i found an absolutely wonderful article, "the truth about the police code of silence revealed." i really recommend that you take a look at that.
i'm going to recommend most police chiefs take a look at this. there are profiles. he talks about the code of silence. that is about the fact that there is. how you prevent the code of silence? it is like how do you prevent crime? or how do you stop crime, let's put it that way. the best way to prevent these kinds of indiscretions, or as you will, from happening, is to ensure each level of your organization is responsible for the people that they supervise. and you inspects, you audits, you ensure, and then it becomes part of the culture. i will tell you one of the best tools i have seen in my career -- two of the best tools.
no. 1, tape recorder. two, video camera. i am not talking about watching "cops" on tv. it is a couple of things. number one, the officer is going to act differently because they know they're being found. number two is i suggest that utilize the person you are talking to there being recorded for film. no. 3 is there is verification of what exactly happened. there are multiple of benefits in that.
in the greenroom, we were talking about the cost of outfitting of one car. how much does it cost for a lawsuit? what does it do to the perception of the department. those are the kinds of things we can do. but we have to put it -- we have to commit as a city, as individuals to the detriment of our own police department, rather than looking askance at it and assuming that every police department and employee in that department -- is not fair. >> mr. hanlon? >> i think one thing to keep side of -- sight of, if we're giving people the power to carry a gun and arrest citizens and
put them in jail forever. we talk about how we deal with this situation, to minimize it and say it is just a few officers, the department is generally ok, that there is not a culture here, whether it is a code of silence or a code that we can do what ever we want, it is not dealing with the problem. [applause] i believe that it has to be dealt with. but it cannot be dealt with by minimizing it and saying there's too much media about this stuff, that it is not fair. it is fair because the police are given this incredible power. more than anybody else. you know, i can deal with a cop in court, but i will not mess with him on the street, because he can tell me or arrest me. there has to be a standard -- he can kill me or arrest me.
there has to be a standard. ianne is talking about her clients are basically on the street. this is not a minor problem. [applause] >> we of so many other questions that need to be answered, but i think we're coming to the end of our time. this is been a fabulous discussion with our experts here, with all the notes from whence they are talking. i want to thank everyone for their words of wisdom and -- and i think it has been a wonderful discussion about this problem. i have a couple of questions that have been submitted, which i will throw open to any panelist. i guess this could be fourfor
ms. wu. what is the procedure for the san francisco police department and the d.a. and is a public? >> it is public. there are external and internal policies for bringing forward materials that would affect the credibility of witnesses i hate -- credibility of witnesses. from the crime lab scandal -- >> situation. situation. i will use the word situation. in particular, and it is all known to the public -- this man had a conviction out of san mateo we had not learned about. we could not cross-examine on that. and that was a problem. it was a problem immediately
addressed. so, i talked to a lot of other g-8's offices to find out how -- d.a.'s offices throughout the state to find out how they dealt with this. i find that a lot of offices across the state rely on that type of relationship. given the situation occurred with the crime lab, we needed to absolutely do more, and what we did is create a policy where they did, and i think it may have been cheap gas than -- chief gaston at the time were they created personnel files where they could go to the court system to learn whether this type of material existed, whether or not information that we should know about individuals who are testifying for us in that trial should be given to
the police department. we also have our own internal policy because -- which means if there are allegations of misconduct, we create materials and have an internal policy about how the material is disseminated within our offices so that we can comply with all our obligations in terms of discovery. our office has had a lot of discussions about the implementation of that policy and a lot about when we should implement policy and when during the course of litigation that information should be provided. we chose to be very expensive on that. we chose to give it prior to preliminary hearings if time allows. i think that is above and beyond what the law requires. those are the decisions that
were made. we do have a set policy, a set policy that we also think provides a set process for the people bringing forward material. for example, if you have material we're looking at, we have opportunities to provide information to us or to come in and discuss with us what the allegations are against them prior to making a determination if there is material. all that is on our website, i believe. and now with the lights going out -- i think they are turning the lights down on us. >> it is like the academy awards. >> i know, i know. >> do we have time for one more question? ok. ok. chief suhr, a ban has been
called on the use of master keys at the sro. can you discuss whether this is a viable option or why the officers should use them? >> i am aware of that, but consent is also a lawful search, and i know a lot of these hotels would just as soon we not be breaking down their doors and paying to fix the doors or the police department can secure the door and then they have to put a person on the door, and that leads to other theft from folks in the hotel. so, i certainly would look at it and consider it, but i think that's if there is lawful consent given and the past key is used or the person's own key is used, it ends up being, as many things are in this day and age, a cost issue. >> i would like to weigh in. can you imagine police officers
arriving at the ritz carlton, informing the front desk they would like a key that opens all the hotel rooms, and no, they do not need an escort. they just will be doing what they would like. there would be public outcry. and the only reason that there is a public outcry about the use of master keys, and we have brought forth stories -- "the new york times" published a story with first hand witnesses from single occupancy hotels. this is someone's home. there is no different constitution for people living in sro's. they say the officers come in and intimidate physically or verbally into handing over the passkey. if this were happening anywhere , but sro's, there would be
outcry. [applause] >> and our one last question will be open for anyone who wishes to answer it. do you think it is fair that police who kill citizens are put on administrative leave while the citizens to do the same thing are immediately arrested and imprisoned it? >> [yelling] >> anyone want to grab that one? [laughter] >> i believe the question is whether or not if a police officer killed someone in the line of duty and they are put on administrative leave? >> that is what i read here. >> so, again, the police officer is subject to all the lost anybody else is subject to. the reason they're put on administrative leave while the investigation continues is to make sure the investigation goes
forward and the officer is not outside. i do not think it is looked upon by the officers -- and i know it is not intended by the police department -- as a reward. it is just something done as the investigation goes forward. once the finding is made, then it proceeds. if it is not a criminal trial, as with the oscar grant shooting, everybody saw the way that went. >> [unintelligible] >> i am sorry? and if it goes another way, then it proceeds down that track. >> any other comments? any closing comments by anyone? i think they have said their due. >> i have one. >> ok. >> these issues are very complex. there are legitimate sides. but i do think that it requires
thoughtful analysis of the issues as we try to look at a department, having been looking at a department and trying to offer solutions. i realize how complex and challenging it is to move the agenda, but if you have good will for the different sides, but we can do it if there is a commitment on the part of the department as well as the public officials. because public officials need to make a commitment to hold the police department accountable. if they do not do that, it does not matter what the lawyers agree upon. at the end of the day, the officers will be held accountable to the public officials and public officials
-- if the public officials do not hold them accountable, and nothing positive happens in the long run. [applause] >> i think john is right. one of the important things about this conference is san francisco is different. i cannot imagine sitting at the table of the chief of police of oakland or sacramento, and the chief of police being here. it does not end the questions. it is a conversation that has to get down to important issues. it has to start and meetings like this are a start to recognize. i think it is a real positive step. [applause] >> and although i would argue many of the things that were said today on the panel -- and i cannot believe i am going to say
this -- i completely agree with john burris and stuart hanlon. [applause] >> thank you for giving my closing comments from me. i would like to thank the public defender's office for providing the public and anybody he wants to come to this forum, hearing from these experts, and they help you take away some good things from this -- and i hope you take away some good things from this panel. ok. we're going to recall her. let's start off with talking about "to kill a mockingbird." and what that book meant. you wrote an article about it, john. as a law professor it was something you focused on as part of legal education.
how did you choose that and why? wow. i just want to say, it was wonderful seeing the actor portraying atticus finch. as i watched that i thought to myself, and i want to know what tony thinks about this, i thought there is no chance that tom robinson is going to get off. you know, that was such an ineffective appeal. now, is it a wonderful speech? it's a wonderful speech. is it beautiful? it's beautiful. is it incredibly well-written? yes. is it going to work? there's no chance. tom robinson must have been listening to that and saying, oh, my god. you know. there's a trick that's being played on you in "to kill a mockingbird." atticus finch represents the last republican lawyer. and i mean republican in the sense of the republic, of
thomas jefferson, those kinds of people. the last lawyer who really believes that to enunciate the important principles of america is going to work. this is in a town where their first reaction -- i mean, tom ewell is an incredibly evil, disgusting person. everybody in town knows that. but they believe him. you know, they're willing to take his word even though they know he's lying completely, they're willing to take his word. they're willing to go out and try to lynch tom robinson, right? they have taken one of their upstanding citizens, bo radley, and locked him in the attic. he's been there for god knows how many years. has anybody in town done anything about it? no. lock your kids in the attic. that's the kind of town you're dealing with. as we're seeing this through the idse of scout, a child, we have -- through the eyes of
scout, a child, we have to dig into it ourselves to see what's going on and once you do you realize that atticus doesn't have a chance. there's nobody to appeal to. he's going to lose. and the moral of "to kill a mockingbird" isn't that atticus finch is a great lawyer or the lawyer that we should follow. the moral of the book and the movie is that the republican lawyer won't work any more. we need a new kind of lawyer. the only way to clean up a town like this is to bring in the federales. you know, everybody's got to go to jail. i mean, these -- you know, if you think about it, who is the real hero of "to kill a mockingbird"? who's the one who sees clearly? it's not atticus finch. he's not even a very intelligent father. i love him. i love him. but who lets your kids out in
the middle of the night wearing -- dressed as farm animals and fruit when there's a craze killer who's vowed to get them? you say, fine, you don't need me to walk you home. you can do it yourself. is that -- is that smart? is that a good dad? bo radley is the one who actually has it straight, right? he knows those kids are going to get into trouble. he's out there and he does something about it. he's the one who gets justice in the book. you know, and so when you really think about it, if you can put through this wonderful vision of the child, if you can stop looking at this problem from a child's point of view, then you'll get a new take on "to kill a mockingbird," i think. you know, one that's much more actually meaningful to you. so -- >> ok. thanks.
mary. >> yeah. >> oh, great. we lost you for a minute there. >> i know. >> yeah. so tell us -- how did you choose "to kill a mockingbird" as the subject for your book and for your film? you know, what made you take this on as a project 50 years after the book was published? >> well, my adult rereading of "to kill a mockingbird" made a far greater impression on me than my adolescent reading ever had, and once that happened i started to just satisfy my own curiousity i started to find out as much as i could about both the novel and the novelist. i was a producer at cbs news for 20 years and i was frequently pitched a story idea but my boss, you know, in the news department, my boss would say, no news, no story.
and ms. harper lee hasn't given an interview since 1964, it not be the person who would change her mind. so when i started doing my own documentary, which is about -- i started it about six years ago, i read the novel again, i did a little more reporting, especially about, you know, the summer of 1960 when the novel was published. and i began to see the story i could tell was the story of the novel. not so much the novelist. and the credible impact that the novel had on the civil rights movement, on lives, on careers and on readers to this very day. so that to me seemed to be the story worth telling and that's when i started working on the documentary. >> and sort of tell us how did you arrive at your understanding of the impact that the book has had,
particularly on race relations and, you know, the -- so many people cite the book as a reason why they went to law school. why do you think that's true, particularly in light of the fact that atticus lost the case? >> well, i mean, it is true that in the research i've done many people did say that atticus finch is the reason that they went to law school. i mean, because this is a lawyer who stood up and did the right thing despite what his neighbors or his family thought. and the thing that's kind of interesting to remember about atticus is that this is set in the 1930's, not set in the 1960's, and atticus was a court-appointed attorney. and what he really did was he gave his client a vigorous defense which is -- was not expected and in fact, what's great at looking at the movie version of "to kill a mockingbird" is the jurors -- some of the jurors sitting in
the jury box reading the paper because everybody figured they knew how this trial was going. you know, it tells you something sometimes about what a trial l can do, not just for the people who are on trial but for everyone who's watching it. and atticus did something that his neighbors and parts of his family didn't expect him to do. i think what's interesting about the novel is america was a deeply divided place. especially in the deep south. segregation was still not yet against the law. and particularly for white southerners, this novel, which caught on, you know, famously and quickly, it gave white southerners a way to think about how they were raised and to think about the system in which they were raised. it did so perhaps in a way that a political speech didn't do because it was told through the eyes of a child. it was a popular story that wasn't just about race, it
about growing up in a small town. it was about coming of age. it was about love. it was about lonliness. it had all the suspense. the novel had so many elements with which to draw people in. >> so the tremendous amount of -- about harper lee. i know she never wrote another book. it was a pulitzer prize-winning book, and the film won the academy award. and yet she never wrote another book. what did you learn about harper lee and her reasons? >> well, i was fortunate enough to get great access to two very close friends of her. a new york city couple who gave their friend, harper lee, money. they remain very, very close dear friends to this day. the other person i was also very privileged and fortunate
to talk to was alice finch, harper lee's older sister. alice is one of the first women in alabama who was ever admitted to the bar. she -- at 99 she's the oldest practicing attorney in the state. she continues to practice every day, and she hopes to celebrate her 100th birthday in september at her law desk. she was quite a character and told me quite a bit about how the lee girls were raised. and her answer to that question is, she quoted her sister saying, she couldn't top what she had done. she had nowhere to go but down. and i think the combination of this kind of overwhelming thing, the somewhat autobiographical nature of what was written about and not to sa